This post is part of Relish 11. I’m so proud to be participating along with other bloggers and friends.

What flavor did you most relish this year? Perhaps it was a whole meal, but what can you say about the flavors of the last eleven months, what do you want to remember?

Before I straight-up answer the question I want to put something out there – mostly for me, as is the norm with this blog. I hope that in the future I will look back on 2011 as the year that I finally changed my relationship with food. That’s a biggie, right? I’ve known for ages that my habits weren’t working for me but I just never had the motivation to change them. The changes seemed hard. And unpleasant. And really freakin’ hard.

Then came the seismic shift in my priorities and all of the sudden Hello motivation. So in the past few months I have radically altered the way that I eat and in the process I have radically altered the way that my body looks and, more importantly, the way it feels. I’ll admit that at times I’ve been a bit of a crazy person (with my self esteem and my mood heavily influenced by numbers on a scale) and I can’t say for certain that those times are over but I think I’m settling into a new normal.

OK, that’s out of the way. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I talk about it but now onto answering the real question at hand…

I’ve written before here about having learned to cook really over the past 2-3 years. I’m all about the fresh ingredients prepared simply and flavourfully (now minus grains and sugar). In terms of stand-out flavours this year I can think of three – two made by me and one made by Arigato Sushi in Santa Barbara, California.

First is my homemade pesto. There’s nothing special about it. I chuck basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and olive oil into the food processer in eyeballed amounts. But the result? It is the freshest, “greenest” flavour I can imagine. Every time I made it this summer I wondered why I had been buying pesto all my life when this was SO MUCH BETTER!

Next are fish tacos. I made these pretty much every week over the summer. I started with this recipe from Everybody Likes Sandwiches but I have to say that over the summer I started lazying it up, in terms of the toppings (reverting to the cumin yogurt, store-bought salsa and avocado). No matter. I looked forward to taco night all week. Every taco night I would sit at the dining room table and think that it was too bad that there wasn’t someone sitting across from me to say “This is an effing great taco” so I could say “I know! Right?”

And finally (though really writing this post is making me think of a whole bunch of other awesome things I’ve eaten this year, notably everything I purchased at the Ferry Building in San Francisco) we have the scallop hand roll from Arigato Sushi. Holy crap people! I’m a lover of sushi but had somehow never had the scallop and how did I ever live without it? Arigato itself was a delight. It was super-busy on a Sunday night but they wedged me into a table for one and then brought me one fantastic dish after another. But that spicy scallop hand roll? It was transcendent.


About Debra Cowie

Debra is a photographer and visual storyteller based in Ottawa, Canada. She is an explorer at heart, whose passion for photography was born in travel and has been carried with her to more than 30 countries so far. Debra is also an avid cook and baker and much of her current work focuses on food styling and photography in her serendipitously beautifully lit kitchen. She has flirted with Polaroid and 35mm film photography but her true love is her DSLR (aka "Boyfriend Mark").
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2 Responses to Flavour

  1. Changing your relationship to food is huge. It is wonderful that you spent this year doing that for yourself. There is no measure greater for self love.

    My relationship with food has been a strange journey or maybe not so strange. It seems as I work with shadow and uncover/discover issues to be cleared, food has been something that I turn to for comfort without thinking about it. It has become a more conscious thing the past couple of months because I can’t do anything for long without my seeing the deeper issue. It is something I am going to be looking at this coming year. I have ordered the book, Eathing in the Light of the Moon, to help me with it. I always turn to books when I want to know or understand something better.

    I love that you have become adventurous with food; trying new recipes and going to cool resteraunts. I love trying new recipes but I always find ways to make it my own or I just create a new dish from ingredients that sound like they would go well together. Fresh is always better.

    This is a beautiful post, thank you.


  2. rebecca says:

    I just wanted to let you know that at some point, and please don’ think this too forward of me, we WILL be sitting across the table from one another. I am certain of it. And when we do, we shall clink glasses and laugh at how I called it. Your writing is amazing, and I am so stoked that this little project o’mine succeeded: it brought me a new person I’m keen to get to know, and so I am. Cheers! 🙂

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